Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Best of Both Worlds

Labor has come and gone, officially marking the end of summer in all the ways that matter. My daughter just left for her first day of school. It's extra special for us because she didn't leave for school all last year. She stayed at home last year, where we completed her first year of homeschooling. It was a great experience but very humbling and learning. Our relationship grew very close, as she was not just my daughter but also my student. And she whizzed through her assignments, leaving me always wondering, did I do enough? should I give her more?

We did miss certain aspects of regular school. Like being able to do skits and group activities. And getting out of the house more. She didn't have the socialization issue; I did. I missed standing around with the other moms chatting. At times we even missed that whole getting ready for school bit, because as big of a pain it is, it built up anticipation. I missed packing her lunch, and she missed eating out of a lunch box. Funny how none of the homeschooling books mention these small things.

Still, we were planning on homeschooling again this year. I actually wasn't sure. So I gave my daughter a choice: would she like to go back to elementary school or would she like to homeschool again? She immediately chose to homeschool. That was it. She has had to put up with never-ending hours of school, a distracted mom, siblings screaming, last-minute lesson changes, and occasional bouts of impatience by the teacher. That she would do it again shuts up any doubts I have.

Then, as God would have it (thank You, Lord!), we found out about this charter school that offers a part-time homeschooling schedule. My daughter would go to school two full days a week and homeschool the other three days. On those two days of school, they would cover all the more group inclined activities, such as art, science, and history with projects. They also have a monthly book club and fun field trips. We get to choose which curricula we use at home. And, oh yeah, she'll be eating out of her lunch box those two days while I volunteer periodically (and socialize with other moms) as is required of all parents.

So it seems like the perfect compromise, especially in light of my job, minimal though it is, and my son, who's entering regular kindergarten, and all their extracurricular activities. I'm looking forward to trying out this new arrangement. I figure going from 5-day homeschooling to 3-day homeschooling is a lot like going from taking care of 4 kids to only 2 kids: a piece of cake. It's gonna be a great year.

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